The Special Education Department at Glendale School District is under investigation after multiple parents reported abuse and wrongdoing towards students with special needs.
It all started back in January at a school board meeting when concerns were raised by parents about what’s really going on inside their special education classrooms.
That’s according to Kimberly Capenos, a Chairperson with the IU8 Local Task Force, who serves as an advocate for children with special needs.
Capenos says she was contacted by parents following that school board meeting asking her to meet with them for help.
“That’s when I found out, wow, there were major huge things going on,”
Capenos learned that Glendale School District officials posted photos on a parent portal called ClassDojo.
The technology company provides communication services for teachers and parents, such as sharing photos from daily activities.
Capenos told us that photos were posted in the ClassDojo portal showing students strapped into restraining chairs.
“It literally restrains their movement. They can’t get out,” she said.
“Glendale itself was posting pictures in ClassDojo of these kids in the chairs. Were they posting them when they were in the chairs crying and screaming? No. Were they posting pictures of these kids in the chairs during activities? Yes. What are these kids being restrained for during an activity? There’s no reason for it,” Capenos continued.
Capenos says these chairs are used for students with physical issues such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or another condition.
“You could put a child who physically needs that, in that chair, to help them sit up straight for that instruction. That only makes sense, but it has to be a prescription from a doctor. The chairs were being used for behavior purposes. That’s extremely illegal,”
Capenos says the chairs resemble high-chairs with a wedge between the legs and a strapped on tray along with Velcro straps around the legs and wrists.
She says there are seven of these chairs within the district.
“You see the chairs in the pictures. The school district posted it. It’s no alleged use of chairs. It’s, look, we’re using these chairs. They didn’t even realize that these chairs weren’t supposed to be used,”